Devotion to Prophets is one of the basic creeds of Islamic faith. And an infinite and unconditional love for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the pillar of one’s belief in his Risalat (prophethood). Significantly, just as Tawheed (oneness of God) is the basic tenet, Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (finality of prophethood) is the cornerstone of Islam. Therefore, Muslims of all denominations hold the last Prophet (pbuh) in the highest esteem. It can be deeply felt in an Urdu couplet of the poet-philosopher Allama Iqbal, who wrote in his celebrated “Jawab-e-Shikwa”:
“Ki Mohammed Se Wafa Tune, To Hum Tere Hain,
Yeh Jahan Kya Cheez Hai Loh-O-Qalam Tere Hain.”
(We are yours only with your loyalty towards Prophet Muhammad. Let alone this universe, even the tablet and the pen are yours.)
In fact, showing veneration to the Prophet’s holiness is reckoned as the foundation of Islamic mysticism (tasawwuf). Jalaluddin Rumi, the Turkish whirling dervish, was so engrossed in an unconditional love for the Prophet that he saw him in a pious dream and said: “There has never been a beauty like that of Prophet Muhammad in this world or the next. May the glory of God help him!”
Rumi devoted the entire Masnavi, his masterpiece, popularly called “the Persian Qur’an” to the exaltation of the Prophet (pbuh). He writes:
“I bring blessings upon you, (O Muhammad),
so that the breeze of proximity (to God) may increase.
Since, with nearness of the whole,
all parts are allowed to approach.”
Another Persian Sufi poet and writer of sizeable mystical literature, Jaami, was so deeply in love with the Prophet that he would compose poems for his holiness to comfort his heartache.
“My soul is breaking into pieces in your separation,
And my heart is becoming weak due to my sins, O Prophet.
I am drowned in your love and the chain of your love binds my heart.
Yet I don’t know this language of love, O Prophet.”
As a matter of fact, this degree of love for the Prophet, which is an integral part of the divine path, is enunciated in the Qur’an:
“Say, (O Muhammad), if you should love Allah, then follow me, (so) Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is forgiving and merciful.” (3:31)
Thus, the Qur’an categorically asked the Prophet himself to enjoin his companions in the maximum exaltation, love and respect for his holiness and be cautious in this, to the extent of not even lowering their voices, as mentioned in another verse. But the deepest love in the truest sense is to emulate the beloved as an example for all life. Rumi rightly says: “If Muhammad does not make a path in our hearts, He does not exist in our hearts”.
The best part to emulate from the Prophet’s life is truthfulness, trustworthiness and tenderness. Jaami writes in Persian:
“Gul az rukhat aamokhta nazuk badani ra badani ra,
Bulbul ze tu aamokhta shireen sukhani ra, sukhani ra.”
(Flower has learnt tender-being from your face,
And nightingale has learnt from you the sweet words)